Police in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district were hunting on Tuesday for the killers of three elderly members of a family who were found murdered at a temple in a case of suspected human sacrifice.
Four police teams were constituted to probe the sensational crime, which is suspected to have been committed by treasure hunters as the blood of the victims were poured on the idol of Shivalinga and anthills adjacent to the temple.
A police officer said they were working on the clues gathered at the crime scene and the four teams were on the hunt for the killers.
Sivarami Reddy (70), who was trying to renovate an ancient temple at Korthikota village, his sisters Kamalamma (70) and sister Satyalaksmamma (75) were found murdered in the temple on Monday.
According to police the trio slept in the temple. They were brutally murdered in their sleep. Their throats were slit and the blood was collected in vessels to bathe the lingam in the blood.
As an ancient treasure is believed to be hidden in the temple, the gang looking for the same is suspected to have sacrificed the trio to propitiate the deity.
However, the police were investigating the case from all possible angles. As Sivarami Reddy was trying to restore the temple by forming a committee of locals, the investigators were trying to find it if he had any rivals.
Sivarami Reddy, who had retired as an instructor at an Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in the district, and his sister Kamalamma were joined by their other sister, who had arrived from Bengaluru two days ago.
As a lunar eclipse was occuring on Tuesday, they wanted to make all arrangements for performing the rituals at the temple and decided to spend the night there.